PAPER FIG’S CHOCOLATE CAKE
This Sharjah bakery’s chocolate cake has a secret weapon when it comes to its decoration – dozens of shattered meringues make for a dramatic, but achievable effect
Nawal Al Nuaimi started Paper Fig (named for a shell she found on holiday) in 2015; since then her Sharjah café and bakery has tripled in size, but her favourite cake – cheesecake – is still on the menu (we’ve tried it, and it’s delicious!). Nawal started her baking career making hundreds of mini cheesecakes a day for friends – a recipe for a business. For Friday, however, she’s made a rich chocolate and meringue layer cake.
Makes 3 6-inch cakes 650g pastry flour 750g white sugar 225g cocoa (Paper Fig uses Valrhona) 20g baking powder 15g salt 20g baking soda 600g full-fat milk 225g sunflower oil 5 large eggs 10g coffee powder 200g boiling water Preheat the oven to 175˚C. Using parchment paper, line a 60cmx40cmx5cm tray. (Alternatively, you can bake the cake in three 15cm round cake tins, lined, but check for doneness earlier). Sift all the dry ingredients, except for the coffee powder, together. Combine all the liquid ingredients, except the boiling water. Combine the dry and liquid mixes. Dissolve the coffee powder in the boiling water and add to the mixture. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool.
1,000g whipping cream 300g 40 per cent milk chocolate, such as Valrhona Jivara Melt the chocolate then mix it with the whipping cream. Chill for 24 hours, then whip the mixture until airy.
4 egg whites 100g caster sugar 70g icing sugar 30g cocoa powder Preheat the oven to 150˚C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk until soft, satin-like peaks form. Add the caster sugar, spoon by spoon and keep whisking until all of the sugar is added and the mixture is stiff and shiny. Next add the icing sugar and cocoa bit by bit. Once you have a stiff, shiny meringue mixture, gently transfer it to a piping bag with a nozzle round tip (#10 or 1cm diameter), and pipe long strips of meringue on the prepared parchment paper. Place the meringue strips in the oven and bake for approximately 1 hour. If possible, once cooked, turn the oven off and leave the meringue inside with the door open for 30 minutes or so before removing. This helps them to not collapse. Set aside on a cooling rack.
Cut out three 15cm cakes (or use the three separate cakes). Put a little mousse in the centre of your plate to hold the cake in place. Add a layer of mousse on the first layer of cake and top it with another layer, followed by mousse and the last layer. Coat the entire cake with mousse – be generous! Break the chocolate meringue into pieces and garnish the cake with them. Decorate with a sprinkle of gold dust and gold leaf.